June 25, 2013

How to “Write” a Video Resume

Close up of hands typing on white laptopTechnology has helped to reshape the culture in which we live, and thus changed how we do even the simplest things in life. Take the resume, for example.

Ten years ago, job seekers would sit in front of the computer and type out a resume—essentially a list of skills and past work experiences—to submit to potential employers via snail mail. While this is still a perfectly acceptable way to apply for work, technology has rapidly changed employers’ standards. For example, LinkedIn encourages job seekers to network with potential employers via a business social network. Some companies require candidates to submit a website or dynamic online portfolio.

And now, the wave of the future is fast becoming video resumes.

The idea of creating a video resume might sound intimidating, but it is not as difficult as it sounds – and, often, it helps job seekers to stand out in a highly competitive job search environment.

What can a video resume do for you?

Video resumes are quickly replacing traditional resumes, especially in specific fields. Before long, video resumes may be commonplace in all careers. But what advantage do video resumes provide over a traditional paper resume?

Posting a video resume online allows job seekers to showcase who they are to potential employers. They help level the playing field. With a video resume, it matters less what school a job seeker attended, or the number of years she spent at her previous position, and more how the job seeker presents herself. Video resumes help employers to better grasp fundamental elements of a job seeker’s personality – including communication skills, enthusiasm for the position, creativity, and other factors.

By helping job seekers to showcase who they are in a different way, video resumes help employers make hiring decisions based on what candidates can bring to the position rather than their past experiences.

How can you show off your writing skills in a video resume?

Critics of the video resume feel that it inhibits a job seeker’s ability to demonstrate his/her writing skills. Writing skills have long been an indicator of a person’s professionalism, accuracy, and attention to detail. In order to showcase these skills in a video resume, job seekers must get creative.

For example, grammar is not only something you can show on a piece of paper. With a direct correlation between the written word and the spoken word, speaking correctly and properly will demonstrate to potential employers that you likely have proper grammar skills – and say volumes about your ability to communicate verbally.

Here are some ways to ensure proper grammar in your video resume before recording:

  • Write an outline. Before you begin recording your video resume, think carefully about a few main points that you’d like to cover. Write these down, and practice explaining them concisely. Like a written resume, a video resume must be simple and pointed, highlighting your accomplishments and experiences so that employers will yearn to invite you in for an in-person interview to learn more.
  • Add captions to your video resume. Show off your command of the written word by finalizing your video resume with a title, captions that reinforce what you are talking about, and other post-production additions. Make sure all of this information is spelled correctly, and supplements your video explanations rather than repeats them.
  • Supplement the video resume with a traditional resume. Provide employers with a link to your video resume (a private video on your personal YouTube channel works well), and attach a traditional written resume as reinforcement.

Here’s a great example of a top-notch video resume that landed one woman the community manager position at Ridejoy.

Typically, video resumes are not as advanced as this. When you are recording yours, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Short is much better than long. Employer attention spans are typically brief, so keep the video between one and two minutes.
  • Customize the video for the job. Talk about who you are, and the job for which you are applying. Make sure to highlight the experiences in your past that will help you to succeed at the open position.
  • Talk about what makes you stand out. Why are you different from other applicants for the open position, and how does your unique skill set make this position a fit? Make sure you are emphasizing this in your video.
  • Get personal. The benefit to video is that it allows your personality to shine through. Make sure that you keep your energy high, make eye contact with the camera, dress professionally, and remove clutter from the background so that potential employers can focus on you!

Remember that practice makes perfect, so keep at it until your video resume is just the way you want it. The beauty of video resumes lies in the ability to edit the content until it is perfect—similar to the written resume. Make sure you that you do this to deliver a polished, customized, and professional resume at each application.

Read more in Online Resume

A self-proclaimed word nerd, Allison VanNest works with Grammarly to help perfect written English. Connect with Allie, the Grammarly team, and nearly FIVE MILLION Grammarly Facebook fans at www.facebook.com/grammarly.
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